White House Committee’s Support for Commercial Human Spaceflight Welcomed

Washington, D.C. — Following the public release of the Summary Report of the White House’s Review of U.S. Human Space Flight Plan Committee, the Commercial Spaceflight Federation and Next Step in Space Coalition are jointly releasing the following announcement:


Commercial Spaceflight Federation, Next Step in Space Coalition Welcome White House Committee’s Support for Commercial Human Spaceflight

Review of U.S. Human Space Flight Plans Committee’s Summary Report Finds Commercial Procurement of Human Space Transportation Will Cut Costs, Reduce Spaceflight Gap

WASHINGTON, D.C. – September 9, 2009 – The Commercial Spaceflight Federation and the Next Step in Space Coalition welcome the strong support of commercial spaceflight expressed by the White House’s Review of U.S. Human Space Flight Plans Committee, also known as the Augustine Committee for its Chairman, former aerospace industry executive Norm Augustine.

The Augustine Committee, in the “Key Findings” section of its summary report released yesterday, stated, “commercial services to deliver crew to low-Earth orbit are within reach… [and] could provide an earlier capability at lower initial and lifecycle costs than government could achieve. A new competition with adequate incentives should be open to all U.S. aerospace companies. This would allow NASA to focus on more challenging roles, including human exploration beyond low-Earth orbit.”

Bretton Alexander, president of the Commercial Spaceflight Federation, stated, “A full Commercial Crew program would leverage private investment to create thousands of jobs in states including Florida, Nevada, Colorado, Virginia, Texas, California, and Alabama. Both large and medium-sized companies have expressed interest in participating, including United Launch Alliance with 4000 employees, Sierra Nevada Corporation with 1600 employees, and SpaceX with 800 employees, all companies that have built and flown space hardware in orbit.”

Elon Musk, CEO and CTO of SpaceX, stated, “The Augustine Committee is sending an unambiguous message that commercial human space transportation is an important ingredient in future U.S. human space exploration plans. The Committee recognizes that in addition to the cost savings and reducing the gap in U.S. spaceflight capability that supporting U.S. commercial human space transportation will promote competition and create critical high tech jobs at home.”

Mark Sirangelo, Chairman of the Commercial Spaceflight Federation and Chairman of Sierra Nevada Space Systems, added, “Commercial Crew will fill an urgent need. Currently, when the Space Shuttle retires in 2011, the U.S. will purchase seats on Russian Soyuz vehicles to send our astronauts to the $100 billion Space Station, sending our funds overseas at the price of at least $51 million per seat. Commercial crew will promote greater competition, create new high tech jobs in the U.S. and prevent U.S. taxpayer dollars from being sent overseas.”

“The commercial spaceflight sector appreciates today’s strong endorsement and validation by the Augustine Committee of our industry, and we look forward to strengthening our partnerships with NASA and the US Government to help deliver cargo, fuel, and crew to the International Space Station and for other Low Earth Orbit missions. Commercial Crew in Low Earth Orbit is complementary, not competitive, to NASA exploration beyond Low Earth Orbit,” added Sirangelo.

About Next Step in Space
Next Step in Space is a group of businesses, organizations, and people working toward ensuring the future of commercial human spaceflight in the US. Investment in commercial space will allow for full utilization of the International Space Station, enable NASA to focus its efforts beyond low-Earth orbit, and ensure that taxpayer dollars are reinvested in the US and not spent overseas. Visit us at: www.nextstepinspace.com. Become a fan and show support for commercial spaceflight on the Next Step in Space Facebook fan page at www.facebook.com/nextstepinspace and follow on Twitter @NextStepinSpace.

About the Commercial Spaceflight Federation
The mission of the Commercial Spaceflight Federation (CSF) is to promote the development of commercial human spaceflight, pursue ever higher levels of safety, and share best practices and expertise throughout the industry. CSF member organizations include commercial spaceflight developers, operators, and spaceports. The Commercial Spaceflight Federation is governed by a board of directors, composed of the member companies’ CEO-level officers and entrepreneurs. For more information please visit www.commercialspaceflight.org or contact Executive Director John Gedmark at john@commercialspaceflight.org or at 202.349.1121.

The formal press release can be downloaded here [pdf].

Categories: Commercial Crew, Commercial Spaceflight Federation, NASA, Policy, Press Releases